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October 1992


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 12 Oct 1992 15:06:07 EDT
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Bjorn is on the mark in his discussion of soapumentaries.  AMERICAN FAMILY
was closer to MONDO CANE than, for instance, PRIMARY or any of the Maysles
films.  The producer and crew of FAMILY seemed to have had a good idea of
how they wanted it to turn out.  By contrast, more honest films using
direct cinema techniques simply want to know how it comes out.  Al Maysles
once described what he and his brother did as "explorations."  They were
not interested in doing films where they knew how it would come out.  In
answer to a direct question, Al denied any interest in fiction film.
For his pains, he was described by some people as an "innocent."  How dare
he think, they hurumphed, that it was possible to know about people by
observing them with a camera.  All is manipulation goes the argument.
In my view, this particular argument is usually a self-serving defense
of manipulating actuality for dramatic purposes.
Cal Pryluck, Radio-Television-Film, Temple University, Philadelphia
<[log in to unmask]>  <PRYLUCK@TEMPLEVM>